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Yoga Guide for People with Rheumatoid Arthritis



FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND YOGA GUIDE FOR PEOPLE WITH RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS LAUNCHES DURING NATIONAL ARTHRITIS MONTH

Remain Active With RA Yoga Guide is Offered Free, Exclusively at www.RAacademy.com

BRIDGEWATER, N.J., May 23, 2002 - The American Yoga Association (AYA), in collaboration with the Arthritis Foundation and support from Aventis Pharmaceuticals' RAacademy.com, today launches an online Yoga guide for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). According to the AYA, Yoga may help people with arthritis deal with pain and stiffness, improve range of motion and increase strength for daily activities. RA is one of the most common forms of arthritis in America, affecting about two million people, more than 75 percent of whom are women.

"People with RA may benefit from low-impact exercises like Yoga to help improve overall health and fitness without further damaging or hurting the joints," said Cheryl Lambing, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California Los Angeles. "Physical activity may optimize both physical and mental health and play a vital role in disease management. It is important for people with RA to speak to their physician before embarking on any exercise program."

The unique Yoga guide, Remain Active with RA, consists of a 35-minute Yoga routine encompassing traditional Yoga poses including range-of-motion, muscle strengthening, and endurance exercises -- the three major forms of exercise typically prescribed for people with RA. The routine also includes warm-up exercises, as well as relaxation, breathing and meditation techniques which can help reduce anxiety and improve overall wellness. Each exercise contains detailed photographs and instructions indicating the proper way to perform each movement.

For thousands of years people have turned to Yoga to build flexibility and strength, improve concentration, relieve stress and increase energy. Today the benefits of Yoga extend far beyond this - it may help people with rheumatoid arthritis. According to a pilot study published in the British Journal of Rheumatology, people with RA who participated in a Yoga program over a three-month period experienced greater handgrip strength compared to those who did not practice Yoga. Experts agree that regular exercise is beneficial for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis because it keeps muscle tone intact and helps to prevent stiffness in the joints.

"Having lived with RA for most my life, I know first-hand that people with RA may benefit from the Remain Active with RA Yoga Guide," said Alice Christensen, Founder of the American Yoga Association. "In my experience, Yoga has helped to improve my joint flexibility - especially on mornings when my joints are very stiff."

RA is a chronic, autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks healthy tissue lining the joints, leading to pain, deformity and disability that may be permanent. In many cases, RA may limit a person's ability to carry out normal daily activities and most people may also experience some degree of anxiety in addition to feelings of helplessness.

The Remain Active with RA Yoga Guide can be accessed exclusively online when you register at www.raacademy.com, a health resource for people with RA, their friends and families, brought to you by Aventis Pharmaceuticals.

About the American Yoga Association

The American Yoga Association (AYA), available at www.americanyogaassociation.org, is a nonprofit, educational organization whose goal is to provide the highest quality Yoga instruction and educational resources to anyone interested in Yoga. Besides serving as a reliable resource for Yoga students and teachers who have questions and concerns, the AYA also provides educational services to program developers in various health-related fields. The AYA has taught Yoga consistently and reliably for over thirty years, and has gained a reputation as one of the most respected Yoga schools in the country.

About the Arthritis Foundation

The mission of the Arthritis Foundation is to improve lives through leadership in the prevention, control and cure of arthritis and related diseases. Arthritis Foundation efforts focus on increasing awareness, programs and services, education, advocacy and research. The Arthritis Foundation currently provides more than $25 million in grants to more than 300 researchers to help find prevention measures, better treatment and ultimately a cure. The Arthritis Foundation's sponsorship of research for more than 50 years has resulted in major treatment advances for most forms of arthritis.

About RAacademy.com

RAacademy.com is a premiere destination for RA news and information. The site features RA-related information, relevant to the personal health needs of those with RA, including self-care tools, tips for living with RA and a section on exercise tailored specifically for people with RA. It also includes an online community center and interactive features complete with chats, message boards, e-mail alerts and a personal planner. RAacademy.com is sponsored by Aventis Pharmaceuticals.


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